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From her realistic characters to her unforeseeable endings,  Lee Smith is a master at everything intriguing. The very first paragraph is full of interesting information about the story, and tactics by the writer. The story is very conversational which I especially appreciate considering its written in third person. I also like how she tells us from the very beginning what is going to happen, “It was this day, August 25, nearing sunset, cocktail time in kite weather, when Mrs. Darcy received her first vision.”

One thing that is very distinctive and cool about Lee Smith’s writing is that she includes excessive amount of detail in a way that makes the reader feel they are necessary. For example, pg. 276 “These girls took after their father; they had his long, thin hands.” When I initially read this section of the story I thought to myself that Lee Smith put that little factoid as a foreshadowing  detail, so I didn’t try to over think it. I’m not sure if that is the perfect way to describe what I mean, however, generally, in her stories, and this one particularly, there are many poetic and beautiful details and phrases that are necessary only because they’re pretty. Pg. 282 “The water was so clear you couldn’t tell it was there sometimes.”

Continuing on with that sentence actually… “She could feel the sun, already hot on her shoulders, and nothing seemed worth the effort it took.” I really really like that sentence because it sets a tone for the story and for specifically Ginny. I love how, even in such a short page-span, Lee Smith has created such a distinctive portrait of each one of the characters. Not only that, but those who are unnecessary are treated as such. For example, Maria’s daughters who are neither named nor described as anything other than tan, leggy, and from Richmond.

I think that the reason the characters are developed so fully is because they are so distinctively described and differentiated. The second we meet Trixie for example, we know how she speaks; this is reiterated by each and every sentence she has action in. Even if those sentences are trailing one another. pg. 283 “Trixie looking at her mother, grew more and more annoyed. Trixie remembered her mother’s careful makeup….” I’m sure that every other does this in stories where there are a lot of characters, but I just seemed to be particularly drawn to it in this story. Maybe its because they all have such creative names.

On page 286 when Mrs. Darcy got in the water, I was sure that she had died! I thought that this carried on well into the next section of the story without immediately giving it away that there wasn’t some sort of doom, or mourning going on. Just an intriguing curiosity hanging over you. That is another cool move.

Now, I’m no expert, so I can’t really determine whether all of the good things in this story were done intentionally or not, but either way, I think this story is really interesting and I can really appreciate the art behind it.

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